This time last year, the weather was just a bit warmer, although it was just as snowy. I had taken a couple of favorite dogs with me when I went snowshoeing. I rang in the New Year with a dog who was afraid of fireworks.
Over the past year, I have sat for around 40 different dogs, as well as some other critters. Of those dogs, about half of them are purebred and about half are mutts. Some come from shelters, some from good breeders and some come from less than awesome beginnings. Some of the dogs were friendly, love everyone types and some I had to approach a little slower. The smallest one weighed in at 3 lbs and the biggest was 195 lbs. But each one of the dogs I have met are well-loved, and dogs I am happy to call my canine friends! Dog sitting boomed this year, and what may have started as a hobby is quickly turning into something I love doing.
I've had some fun where training is concerned as well. I finally got brave enough to apply for Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program and I got in! I was afraid of being rejected, but getting in was the easy part. As life often is, am I right? Dakota was my training partner, and he and I learned a lot together. He and I are more worldly, after our four trips to Calgary. My passport got some use and Dakota aced his border crossings. It was pretty pain free. He performed beautifully at the workshops, and helped me to pass my training assessment. Dakota and I both have a bunch of new Canadian friends!
The training journey is just started though. I still have one more step for certification. I have classes starting in the new year, and I couldn't be more excited to start them! I've worked with a few training clients this year, and love nothing more than to see people follow through with my advice and tell me it works for their dog!
Dakota and I personally had a pretty phenomenal year as well. We ran in six agility trials, and we moved up to the next class. Dakota, at 10 years old, is getting faster every trial! He loves it and I love it, and my heart hurts in advance the day we have to retire from it. I hope he tells me when it is too much. He earned six titles this year, and just continues to love the game!
We also earned a title in Musical Dog Sports Association Freestyle Dance. It was a class we too, that I thought would be a good way to pass the time a few winters ago, and we have found another sport he loves! It is a good retirement sport for him and it has upped our agility game by a lot!
We did our first barnhunt trial this year, and I truly went into it thinking I was doing it for kicks, but Dakota showed me! When he is feeling barnhunt, and he almost always is, he stands on the tube as an alert! It is pretty hilarious to watch and is fun for him. He is one Q away from a title, and I can't wait for the next trial.
Dakota earned his AKC trick titles this year, without a ton of work on our part. He loves tricks, and I am trying to think of new ones to teach him.
It may not have been a perfect year, but I charged forward in following my dreams and making them a reality. Dakota gave me a few scares, but he is a tough boy and is such a willing partner, I am forever wanting to improve myself just so I can be the handler he deserves. I'm finding myself tonight again hanging with a couple of my favorite dogs, one of them is Dakota, and I am so thankful for my 2017. I'm not where I want to be just yet, but I am well on my way there!
Hi, I'm Rachel. I'm crazy about dogs and want to see all of them living the best life possible. Most of my free time is taken up by dogs, but when I am not working with my own or others, I also enjoy cooking, volunteer work, reading and Netflix in my pajamas.